On 11 December 2006, Defra published a GB consultation document aimed to engage with all those who have an interest in developing policy on responsibility and cost sharing for animal health and welfare. The consultation set out the principles around which decisions on sharing responsibilities and costs could be made (Annex 3 refers). Most respondents welcomed the consultation as a positive step forward and agreed in general with the principle of responsibility and cost sharing.
Further consultations on the next step were held in England, Scotland and Wales in December 2007, inviting views from 375 stakeholders across GB on plans to share further responsibilities and costs for maintaining and improving animal health and welfare with livestock keepers and others associated with animal health and welfare. The consultation document detailed seven specific responsibilities and cost sharing proposals in respect of certain TSE related activities that government was funding but where the principal beneficiaries were specific livestock sectors or individuals participating in specific schemes. The proposals were to transfer responsibility for these activities or the cost of these activities to industry or, in the case of the scrapie proposals, to stop the activity if industry were unwilling to assume responsibility for it. Some respondents to this second consultation acknowledged that the cost of the TSE measures needed to be balanced more fairly between the taxpayer and industry. However, others felt that TSE controls were a public health issue that should be funded by the public purse. A number of respondents highlighted the need to apply the proposals evenly across industry and on a GB basis.
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